Woman Rescued from Overpass

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Topeka Fire Department put its platform aerial truck to use Tuesday to save a life. They were called to help rescue a woman hanging off the I-470 overpass at 21st street.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reports that the woman was threatening to jump. They were the first on the scene just after 1:30 p.m.

Once the woman decided not to jump, they say she still needed help to get down. That's when Topeka Fire Fighters from Station 8 hopped in their aerial truck and came to the rescue.

Traffic was blocked on 21st Street over the bridge while crews tried to rescue the woman. Westbound I-470 traffic was also backed up as the fire truck parked on the interstate to raise the ladder to the woman.

"We train on this daily so when we get these kind of calls we know exactly what to do," said Topeka Fire Department Aerial Operator, Richard Ramos. Ramos drove the truck manned by Capt. Claude Clark, Fire fighter Austin Tonniges and Lt. Zach Bottenberg.

Bottenberg and Tonniges rode up in the aerial basket fixed to the end of the aerial truck's ladder, while Capt. Clark choreographed the rescue.

"The platform truck is the ideal truck to use in a rescue situation like that. It's a lot safer for us and the people we're rescuing," said Lt. Bottenberg.

Fire fighters are trained to do more than fight fires with the aerial truck. When they arrived on the scene at I-470, they knew what to do.

Bottenberg said they first secured the victim with a harness before bringing her onto the platform with them to lower her down the ladder.

The aerial truck they used for the rescue played a key role in it being a safe one.

Officials say the woman appeared to be in her 20's and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
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